Are Humans Easily Persuadable




When we ask the question: Are humans easily persuadable We can answer this in many ways. Such as the influence in everyday social life which is a power of suggestion by convincing others to give you what you want.
In this paper I want to discuss sexuality, alcohol and the drug subculture and how this can be linked to persuasion.
???Rosen??? states that ???Throughout history and across cultures, alcohol, recreational drug use and sexuality have been closely intertwined. For example alcohol has often been considered to be a powerful facilitator, promoter disinhibitor and common accompaniment to sexual behaviour of all types.??? (Rosen, 1991, pp. 120-121) ( PGi-138441443/sexuality-and-substance-use.html)
Hans Eysencyk states that ???Difficult as it may seem to deny the importance and relevance of hormonal and general physiological differences between the sexes, many modern writers seem to stress overwhelmingly the importance of ???sex roles??™ and their determination by society ??“ without asking themselves whether perhaps society imposes these roles because nature has so ordained??? (Eysencyk 1978) (Rodgers, W.S, & Rodgers, R.S, 2001, pp: 66)
How this is all linked to persuasion First of all we need to understand what persuasion is.

There can be different ways of looking at persuasion for example ???social validation??? which states that ???one means we use to determine what is correct is to find out what other people think is correct.??? (Brock and Green, 2005, pp: 148)
Persuasive methods are usually seen in the media, advertising and the press. Television commercials do play a key role in persuading others to buy products. For example: It is believed that according to Allyn and Festinger: ???people are sometimes more susceptive to persuasion when they are distracted than when paying full attention, at least the message is simple.??? (Hogg and Vaughn, 2002, pp: 196)
Some methods of persuasion include rewards, punishments, positive or negative expertise, moral appeal, amongst many others.
According to an article on changing minds ???Persuasion occurs when a person causes someone else to change their inner mental systems include, values, attitude, beliefs, schema, and goals. The change may be a creation of something newer, extinguishing or modifying something that already exists. ???
We don??™t always realise that we are persuaded into doing something. As mentioned earlier commercial advertising is one of the main factors in persuasion.
Sometimes fear arousing messages are used to enhance persuasion, but the message has to be effective to work. Many advertisers use this method to frighten us into complying with their advice and admonitions.
Persuasion requires techniques. No one would believe anything said by another until or unless he or she is persuaded into believing it. Persuasion can be done by certain methods.
Such as a person??™s self esteem. ???In their 1950??™s studies Howard and his colleagues had noted that a distracted audience is more easily persuaded than one that is paying full attention, provided the message is simple; and that those who have low self esteem are more susceptible than those who have high self esteem.??? (Hogg and Vaughn, 2002, pp: 204)
We could be deliberately persuaded if we think that the messages that are given to us are not intended to be persuasive.
???Research into individual differences in persuadibility has focused on individual differences in need for cognition (Haugtvedt and Petty, 1992), need for closure (Knuglanski et all 1993), need to evaluate (Jarvis and Petty, 1995) and preference for consistency (Cialdine et all, 1995), individual differences have also been found in attitude importance (Zuverink and Devine, 1996).??? (Hogg and Vaughn, 2002, pp: 205)
Sometimes the effectiveness of persuasive communication can often depend on the nature of the people generated cognitive responses. Cognitive responses can have their origin in the persons own attitude. There have been a few studies carried out on a person??™s attitude as a source for cognitive responses drawing from theory and research on attitude structure, distinction was made between affective and evaluative components of attitude. It was then proposed that each attitude component may contribute in unique ways to the production of cognitive responses.
???Cognitive dissonance is a good example of the cognitive approach in social psychology, placing as it does the emphasis on beliefs as a central component of an attitude. This also addresses the problem of attitude behaviour discrepancy. It was developed by Festinger (1957) and became the most studied topic in social psychology in the 1960??™s.??? (Hogg & Vaughn, 2002, pp: 218)
Some experiments carried out in the investigation in the dependence of persuasion on cognitive factors. All of the experiments were carried out in the form of a court case ???in which there were 795 suspects who acted as jury members reading summaries for both prosecution and defence testimony. The amount of the objective information on both side of the case was varied. Persuasion was a position function of the number of prosecution arguments and the number of defence arguments. The findings were extended by obtaining measures of the suspect??™s cognitive reactions to the case as well as their opinions and by following both these measures over time. The results from this experiment suggested that the general form of an information processing theory of persuasion. ???
Another look into cognitive dissonance comes from Cooper and Fazio (1984). According to Cooper and Fazio, ???when behaviour is counter attitudinal we try to figure out what the consequences might be.??? (Hogg and Vaughn, 2002, pp: 228)
This brings us to the next topic.

Sexuality, alcohol and the drug subculture
Up until recently social psychology had played a minor part in the growth of research into sexuality. The biological, technical and clinical aspects of sexuality are important but so is the understanding of the social phenomenon to understand people??™s behaviour patterns when they engage together under the influence of social pressures and in many other ways. Real also about corruption and economic development here.
But the link between social psychology and sex roles remain in a large part of a master unfulfilled potential. Many researchers have been carried out in social psychology to understand sexual behaviour.
So how does sexual behaviour link to drug and alcohol use
Increased sexual enjoyment is linked to substance use as there have been many reports from users about the enjoyment they get whilst on the influence of substances. But there is a downfall to using drugs for example they can be highly addictive and the increased dose of substance misuse could be potentially dangerous.
???Many drugs such as ???ecstasy??? the ???love drug??? is said to increase closeness and communication being regarded as an aphrodisiac. Which is false because ecstasy does increase the sensations (touching, physical closeness, etc.) but it decreases sexual pleasures??? (
According to this web article: ???Many people consider drugs and alcohol as sexual stimulants and aphrodisiacs. They can have deep impact on sexuality but the effects can be far from the desired effect.??? (
A lot of people think that drug use is just like they see on the media but in reality it is a bit more serious than that.

Most people with serious alcohol or other drug problems can have serious psychological disorders. But it is sometimes quite difficult to pinpoint the actual problems because most of the time they are hidden really well and usually it is difficult to actually link these problems to alcohol or drug use.
Some studies suggest that many substance users who have been institutionalised as a result of substance misuse have suffered psychological ill health as a result of this. But there can be differing levels of a link between psychoactive drug problems and psychological ill health.
Many subgroups in society have characteristic fashions in their behaviour patterns and this includes the use of legal and illegal substances.
Some forms of drug use and misuse are generally associated with social depravation. But it can also be associated with those who have high status occupations as many drugs for example cocaine and cannabis are readily available.
There have been many studies carried out on the use of drugs by young people. These studies show that peer pressure plays a key role in substance abuse. Younger children who are generally influenced by their parents or other relatives are usually suspect to peer group pressure. According to some studies carried by some leading psychologists suggest that societies have ???establishment??™ or ???controversial??™ orientations towards issues such as drugs and sex. Typically those promote abstinence and moderation. Youthful peer group pressures may condone and foster very different fashions. (Davies and Stacey 1972, Plant 1975, Bagnal 1991)
Legal and illegal drug use has long been linked to sexuality for many reasons. For example: social and cultural as well as psychological and physiological factors. Drinking is commonly linked to dating and with sexual encounters and as well as many illegal and legal substances in a less popular and widespread basis.
The impression given in the media about the use of harmful substances are usually seen as addictive and dangerous. Most of these impressions given in the media quite reasonably clearly show the stereotyping of the casualties of various forms of drug use. Various names are given to the stereotypes such as ???wino??™, ???alcoholic??™ and ???junkie??™ are some of the most common examples given in the media. They try to warn us about various dangers associated with frequent alcohol and drug use. There are no main solutions as yet to prevent harmful behaviours that are linked to alcohol and drug misuse.
Theories such as constitutional and biological could be related to biological susceptibility to use or misuse dangerous substances with the physical effects of their use. Some evidence suggests that people who are addicted to intoxicants could later on in life develop liver disease and could have many other health problems. According to some leading psychologists if alcohol problems run in families this could be for social as well as biological reasons. (Goodwin 1976, Partanenen, Bruun and Markanen 1966, Tabakoff and Saito 1989, Kozlowski 1991)
Some evidence suggests that drug and alcohol use could relate to familiar disturbances. For example: Separation of parents, broken homes and parental drug abuse. Some other evidence also suggests that if the parents are non-drinkers like parental heavy drinking, stressful life events that are linked to drug and alcohol use may cause the children to follow the same alcohol and drug use but in a more moderate level. In many clinical studies carried out it has been suggested that drug and alcohol problems are the main problems that can cause family disturbance.
According to this web article: ???Most individuals addicted to drugs are considered self centred and narcissistic and are interested only in satisfaction of their own primitive needs. This is a very infinite form of behaviour; it is acceptable in infancy but not in adults. These individuals have not matured in a healthy way and so do not accept mature roles. They make poor husbands and wives. Fathers and mothers: They are poor sexual partners because their social development has been retarded. They experiment with many types of sexuality but usually they cannot accept mature heterosexual role. They are not interested in giving to anything; they are interested in only receiving. (Rasor 1968)??? (
There are serious risks involved in taking recreational drugs. The appeal is much too strong. The drugs are here to stay. Some people try to push anti-drugs propaganda into schools to teach kids about the dangers of substance abuse.
Some findings and observations suggest that the evolution and widespread acceptance of social controls for illegal drugs similar to those for alcohol would provide a feasible means of preventing substance abuse.
This could also be related to the anti smoking campaigns we see in the media. Tobacco is one of the most dangerous widely available legal drugs that are around. Smoking can cause serious health problems.
???Anti smoking campaigns have used a wide range of media and techniques to discourage smoking. (Hill, et al 1993)??? (Hogg and Vaughn, 2002, pp: 217)
This brings us to the conclusion.

Alcohol and drug use is wide spread and is all around us everywhere we look we can see some form of substance misuse. Fazey, et al 1977, had done some extensive research into the use of alcohol and drugs. He suggested that the main cause of drug and alcohol use could relate to risky behaviour patterns. There has to be some consideration when trying to prevent these kinds of problems. The use of illegal drugs and sex are possibly more popular and wide spread than ever before. Drug use and sexual behaviour are seen as enjoyable and clearly rewarding.
Persuading people not to smoke for example or not to use illegal drugs and if alcohol is consumed to drink in moderation and to refrain from unprotected sex is seen from a rational and from a public perspective.
In many ways this intention is actively resisted by many powerful factors. It is stressed that both illegal and legal substance use are influenced by a number of conflicting factors. Many different people are influenced by much number of factors within various stages of their drug and drinking concerns. It is possible that many other forms of human activity for example sexual behaviour are also influenced by a number of complicated and sometimes opposite forces.

* Persuasion, psychological insights and perspectives, Brock, T.C and Green, M.C, 2005, Sage Publications Ltd.
* Social Psychology, 3rd Edition, Hogg, M.A and Vaughn, F.M, 2002, Pearson Education Ltd.
* The Psychology of Gender and Sexuality, Rodgers, W.S and Rodgers, R.S, 2001, Open University Press.
* The Relation of Cognitive and Memorial Processes to persuasion in a simulated Jury trial. ??“